Monday, May 6, 2013

MR. SELFRIDGE: S1E7 (review)

By Christopher Cerasi
Nothing much happened on last night’s episode of Mr Selfridge aside from one significant plot development (more on that below), which makes writing a blog post about the episode difficult. Instead of trying to recap what was essentially a filler episode, let’s touch base with some of our main and supporting characters and take a look at some new insights gained.

Harry and Rose Selfridge (Jeremy Piven and Frances O’Connor)


The Selfridge’s marriage was the strongest and most passionate and playful it has been to date, and it was heartwarming to see the real love between the two of them.

The chemistry between Piven and O’Connor is great, and you get the sense that these are two people who really like each other as well as love each other in marriage.

Both are haunted by their own demons, however, but to varying degrees.

Rose still feels the specter of painter Roddy Temple (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) looming in the shadows, and Harry is haunted by the real nightmare that was his father. It turns out that Harry’s father was no Civil War hero but a deadbeat dad who abandoned Harry and his mother and took up with another woman and created an entirely new family. Harry swears he has resolved himself to the past and that there is only moving forward, but one gets the sense this is not entirely the truth.

Agnes Towler and Henri Leclaire (Aisling Loftus and Gregory Fitoussi)


We finally get to see Agnes and Henri kiss, after weeks of distant glances, unrequited longings, and mild flirtations. And it’s Agnes who takes the initiative and kisses Henri first, making her a very modern woman. Well, for 1909, anyway. I hope their romance has a real chance, but I have a feeling it is more of a doomed love affair.

They are both from two very separate worlds, and as much as I like both of them, I really see Agnes ending up with Palm Court waiter Victor Colleano (Trystan Gravelle) in the long run.
 

Once he stops schtupping Lady Mae Loxley (Katherine Kelly), of course…

Kitty Hawkins and Doris Miller (Amy Beth Hayes and Lauren Crace)


Kitty and Doris are a study in contrasts; Kitty is conceited, vain, and shallow, and Doris is kind, compassionate, and concerned.

Neither are intellectuals, but they are a team built on genuine friendship, and usually genuine comic relief. But last night we got to see some more layers to both of them, especially Doris. Her compassion toward and championing of poor Miss Bunting (Pippa Haywood) reveals her inner goodness, and when she goes to see stern Mr Grove (Tom Goodman-Hill), both he and the viewer cannot help but be touched by her genuine desire to do right by Miss Bunting. I have a feeling Mr Grove would like to see more of Doris as well…

Kitty, on the other hand, sent most of the episode turning her nose up at Doris’ do-gooding and trying to discover the identity of her secret admirer. Convinced that it is the oily newspaper editor Frank Edwards (Samuel West), she is at first furious to find out it is simple-but-kind George Towler (Calum Callaghan), then warms up to the young man after he professes his feelings for her. Charmed by the underdog, Kitty agrees to share her teat break with him. For Kitty, this is akin to sainthood. But maybe I am cutting her short.

We’ll find out for sure when Agnes’ replacement is chosen next week, as it’s between these two best friends. Regardless of who gets the job, can they remain friends for long after that?

The sneak peek at next week’s episode reveals that the story picks up with gusto next Sunday, so stay tuned as we wrap up the season, as well as my blog posts!


For more on this episode of Mr Selfridge, visit http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/programs/series/mr-selfridge/

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